The color pink evokes feelings of warmth, comfort, and tenderness among many people. In nature, the color presents itself in many ways: from fuchsia sunsets to the hues of spring, nature seems to have a thing for pink. However, pink creatures are if not rare then uncommon for the least. Most would only be able to name the domestic pig as it is the only pink animal they have seen.
Nonetheless, there are many pink animals out there that thrive in nature and stand out because of their unique shades. These shades range from bubblegum pink to fuchsia, rose, magenta, and many more. Pink animals also spread across the animal kingdom and may be found as insects, birds, mammals, reptiles, and even fish.
In this article, we’ll briefly go over ten of those pink animals along with their scientific names and physical characteristics.
Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a paedomorphic salamander related to the tiger salamander. It stands out among amphibians in that it reaches adulthood without undergoing metamorphosis. These salamanders are aquatic and gilled. Although most in the wild have a brown/tan with gold speckles and an olive undertone, the most common mutant color is pale pink. The pale pink variant is most common in pet axolotls and is more common in axolotls than other salamanders. Axolotls also have some limited ability to alter their color to provide better camouflage.
The axolotl is native only to the freshwater of Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco in the Valley of Mexico. An adult axolotl ranges in length from 15 to 46 cm. Due to their paedomorphic nature, axolotls possess features typical of salamander larvae, including external gills and a caudal fin extending from behind the head to the vent, unlike other salamander species.
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These fascinating animals are capable of the regeneration of entire lost appendages, and in certain cases, more vital structures such as the tail, limb, central nervous system, and tissues of the eye and heart. They also tolerate transplants from other individuals better than other animals. They have been known to regenerate additional limbs, ending up with an extra appendage that makes them attractive to pet owners as a novelty.
2. Amazon River Dolphin
The Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis), also known as the pink river dolphin, is a species of toothed whale which is native to and is exclusively found in South America and classified in the family Iniidae, a family of river dolphins. The adult dolphins acquire a pink color, giving it its nickname ‘pink river dolphin’.
Male pink river dolphins are either solid pink or mottled pink. Their pink shade is a result of repeated abrasion of the skin surface. The pink river dolphin is the largest species of all freshwater dolphins, with adult males reaching 185 kilograms in weight and 2.5 meters in length. They have a long dorsal fin and large pectoral fins. The fin size allows for improved maneuverability.
Like other toothed whales, the pink river dolphin is carnivorous and has one of the widest-ranging diets among toothed whales. They can feed on up to 54 different species of fish, such as croakers, tetras, and piranhas. They also prey on other animals such as river turtles, aquatic frogs, crabs, prawns, catfish, and carp.
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Like other toothed whales, it has a melon, an organ that is used for biosonar and helps the animal use echolocation to navigate, communicate and hunt prey.
3. Roseate Spoonbill
The roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is a gregarious wading bird of the genus Platalea (spoonbills) and family Threskiornithidae (large wading birds). In the United States, the roseate spoonbill can be found in Southern Florida, coastal Texas, and southwestern Louisiana. Their breeding range extends south from Florida through the Greater Antilles to Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Plume hunting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries almost drove the bird to extinction. However, in recent years, the range of the species has expanded.
As the name suggests, roseate spoonbills are roseate in color. Like the flamingo, their pink color is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigment canthaxanthin. Another carotenoid, astaxanthin, can also be found deposited in flight and body feathers. Their colors can range from pale pink to bright magenta, depending on age.
An adult roseate spoonbill measures 71-86 cm in length with a wingspan of 120-133 cm and a mass of 1.2-1.8 kg. Their beak measures 14.5-18 cm long. Adults have a bare greenish head and a white neck and are otherwise a deep pink color – with a grey bill.
4. American Flamingo
The American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), also known as the rosy flamingo (due to its pink plumage), is a large species of flamingo closely related to the Chilean flamingo and greater flamingo. It is the only flamingo that is native to North America. The American flamingo is a large wading bird with reddish-pink plumage. Like all flamingos, it lays a single egg between May and August and the egg takes an incubation period of 32 days to hatch. The bird does not reproduce until it is 6 years old and has a life expectancy of 40 years – one of the longest in birds.
The American flamingos are migratory birds: if food is not available that meets the needs of the birds or the temperate is not appropriate to their requirements, they might move to a better feeding or more temperate area.
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Their unique reddish-pink color is diet-derived and results from what they consume. The American flamingo’s diet consists of small crustaceans, worms, nematodes, insects, small fish, seeds, and algae. They also eat mud from which they are able to get microorganisms and bacteria and obtain nutrients.
5. Bargibant’s Seahorse
Bargibant’s seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti), also known as the pygmy seahorse, is a seahorse of the family Syngnathidae found in the central Indo-Pacific area. It is tiny and the smallest seahorse in the world – usually measuring 2 cm in length.
It has pink tubercles and lies exclusively on pink fan corals that aid its camouflage. There are two known color variations of the animal: grey with pinkish-red tubercles and yellow with orange tubercles. It’s unclear to researchers whether these color varieties are linked to specific host corals.
Large, bulbous tubercles cover the seahorse’s body that match the color and shape of the polyps of its host species of gorgonian coral, while its body matches the coral’s stem. It is unknown whether individuals can change color if they change hosts, although some seahorse species can change color according to their surroundings.
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This tiny magnificent creature is extremely difficult to spot because of the gorgonian coral that it inhabits. The camouflage is so effective that the species’ discovery was made upon the examination of its host gorgonian coral in a lab. It was discovered in 1969 when a scientist named Bargibant was collecting specimens of gorgonians and whilst one of these was on his dissection table, he happened to notice a pair of tiny seahorses.
6. Pink Robin
The pink robin (Petroica rodinogaster) is a small passerine (the order that contains sparrows, songbirds, and crows) bird native to southeastern Australia. Its natural habitats are forests of far southeastern Australia that have a cool temperate. The bird measures 13.5 cm in length and has a small, thin, black bill, and dark brown eyes and legs. The male has a prominent white forehead spot and a pink breast with a white belly. The female has a dark grey-brown plumage, with pinkish-tinged underparts.
The pink robin is an insectivore and usually preys on a variety of spiders and insects, including caterpillars, ichneumon wasps, beetles, flies, and ants while foraging on the ground.
7. Pink-Headed Warbler
The pink-header warbler (Cardellina versicolor) is a small passerine bird found in the southwestern highlands of Guatemala and the central and southeastern highlands of the Mexican state of Chiapas. It most commonly inhabits humid to semi-humid pine-oak, pine-evergreen, and evergreen forests at altitudes ranging from 1800-3500 meters above sea level – preferring forests with dense, undisturbed understories. It has a silvery pink and pinkish-red plumage.
The bird measures 12.5-13.5 cm in length and weighs 10 grams. An adult, regardless of its sex, it has dark red upper parts, a silvery-pink chest, and pinkish-red underparts. It has a silvery-pink head with a reddish forehead and dusky lores.
Like other warblers, the animal is an insectivore, gleaning insects from vegetation and making aerial sallies after flying prey. It forages on the ground and is only 2-5 meters off the ground. The pink-headed warbler lays 2-4 eggs that are incubated for 16 days by the female alone.
8. Small Elephant Hawk-Moth
The small elephant hawk-moth (Deilephila porcellus) is a moth of the family Sphingidae found in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. This vibrantly colored moth has forewings that are pink in color with a faint olive tinge. The front margin is edged and blotched with pink, and there is a broad but irregular band of the same color on the outer margin. The fringes are checkered whitish and sometimes tinged with pink.
The head, thorax, and body are pinkish. The small elephant hawk-moth, however, is highly variable in coloration. In drier, warmer, or arid areas of Asia, pink coloration is uncommon. This moth has a wingspan of 45-51 millimeters and it can be up to 6 cm across from wing tip to wing tip.
The galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), also known as the rose-breasted cockatoo, is the only species within the genus Eolophus of the cockatoo family. The bird is native to and found throughout Australia where it is among the most common cockatoos.
It bears a distinctive pink and grey plumage and its bold and loud behavior makes it an interesting sight in the wild and in urban areas. The galah is about 35 cm in length and weighs about 350 grams. It has a pink face and breast, and a light pink mobile crest. Adults have similar plumages regardless of sex.
Galah usually lays two to five eggs in a clutch that are incubated for about 25 days before they hatch. The male and female co-incubate the eggs. Galahs have been recorded to reach up to 72 years of age in captivity. In the wild, however, galahs usually live up to the age of 20 years – falling victim to predators and human activities.
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The bird feeds on seeds gathered on the ground, doing its major feeding in the morning and late afternoon. It will also strip leaves and barks from trees, and it’s been observed that large flocks have actually killed trees through defoliation.
10. Galapagos Pink Land Iguana
The Galapagos pink land iguana (Conolophus marthae) is a species of lizard of the family Iguanidae. This iguana is a critically endangered species (with only 200 of them left) and is native only to the Wolf Volcano in northern Isabela Island of the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador). It has a pink body with some dark stripes, which is the reason it’s called the pink iguana or the rosy iguana.
It is also one of Galapagos’ most recently described species and genetically oldest. The iguana was first spotted by National Park rangers in 1986, and it wasn’t until 2009 that it was officially classified as a separate species from the other iguanas on Galapagos. Further genetic analysis suggested that the divergence occurred somewhere around 5.7 million years ago – making it one of the oldest events of divergence recorded in the Galapagos.
They are similar in appearance to the Galapagos land iguanas – having short heads and powerful hind legs with sharp claws on their toes. Despite their intimidating appearance, they are primarily herbivores that feed on prickly pear leaves and fruits.
How do they get their pink color? It’s pretty fascinating actually…
Their most defining characteristic is their pink color which is due to the lack of pigment in their skin – making the blood underneath visible to anyone taking a peek at them.